I had so many “do nothing” weekends in a row that I started to worry something was wrong. I found myself in therapy asking, “am I a hermit? Is something wrong?”
The answer was no, thankfully. I’m not a hermit. I’m tired. It turns out that exhaustion has a way of catching up with all of us, and I’m currently experiencing about ten years of fatigue at once. When I said it out loud – I’m just tired – it felt like relief. It also felt like permission to slow down and decide how I use the energy I have.
Adventure has been a remedy for the weariness – something to look forward to. My first attempt was to book a weekend in the mountains, which was great, except I grew up with accountants. It was clear to me that while I *could* afford this kind of adventure? I also want to retire at some point. I can’t be on vacation every weekend.
So I planned these mini-adventures. First, I research a park or trail within 1-2 hours of home with well-marked, easy routes. Then, early Saturday morning, I put my bike on the rack, pack a cooler, and go. I start with a ride, then journal and rehydrate near something beautiful, treat myself to a nice lunch on the way home, boom. Mini vacation. Bonus: I get to sleep in my bed.
My first one was just a few weeks ago. I drove to a beautiful park with miles of bike trails surrounding a reservoir. As I pulled up, I caught myself thinking the same thing I have every day since I moved to Colorado from Tennessee: I can’t believe I get to live here.
I parked, put on my helmet, and started to ride. Everything was perfect. It was flat, sunny, cool. I watched as families began to arrive and smiled, listening to the perfect playlist for this adventure.
It turns out, I do not have the same definition of “easy” or “well-marked” as the bloggers. As I rode, the trail split in a few places, and I just kept going right. Clearly, if I want to go in a big circle, continuing to curve right seemed like the wise choice. Not really.
I made a wrong turn somewhere. When I checked the clock, I figured out that I’d already been on my bike for almost 2 hours. I was 2 hours away from my car, and I had no clue how to get home.
I started to curse my creativity. F*ck adventure. F*ck bike rides. F*ck all my bright ideas. I was freaking out and very tired. The sun was getting significantly hotter, and I genuinely had no idea how to get to my car.
That’s when my survival instincts kicked in. First, to wonder if I looked nice enough for a stranger to pick me up on the side of the road. The answer is no. I might look nice but not “pick up a hitchhiker in 2021” nice. No one wants to end up on Dateline with a story that begins, “I let them in the car then…”
Next, some rational thoughts. “You have a phone. Get your GPS. Your life isn’t that hard.” I open my GPS to find that I am 13 miles from where I think my car is. More swearing here.
Eventually, I made it back. When I saw my car, I felt this overwhelming relief and gratitude. As I put my bike on the rack and grabbed my cooler, I couldn’t help but think how much my life right now is a lot like that trail.
We’ve all been there – whether you’re pedaling or just taking on a new chapter of life. You feel lost. Conditions change quickly. You get scared because you don’t know where you’re going, and you’ve never been here before. But somehow, you always get home.
Is it easy? Not really. Is it pleasant? Not all the time. But you get home.
Don’t forget that. Good, bad, or the days in between – we’re all heading where we belong, even if you feel lost. Truth is? There’s no such thing as a wrong turn. It’s just a different trail you’re supposed to be on.
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.